TN Law: 18 to buy R-rated movie tickets

Published: Feb. 18, 2009 at 9:27 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 19, 2009 at 3:10 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

A Cordova woman's e-mail leads to a little known secret about R-rated movie ticket sales in Tennessee.

"Diana" of Cordova Asked Andy:

"My 17yr old son and his 17yr old girlfriend were denied tickets at the Cordova Malco theater for an "R" rated movie because they were not 18. Is this a new law? My son has been buying "R" rated movie tickets at this theater since the day he turned 17."

Surprise, Diana!  In Tennessee, the legal age to buy a R-rated movie ticket -- IS 18!

It's not a new law, either.

Tennessee Code 39-17-907, enacted in 1989, states, "...viewing a motion picture designated "R" for restricted audiences, persons under eighteen (18) years of age not admitted unless accompanied by parent or adult guardian..."

Violating the law is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a $2,500 fine and/or 11 months and 29 days in jail.

Malco Senior Vice President Jimmy Tashie says Malco's theaters are enforcing the law because, well, it IS the law.  Apparently, some parents who know the law have made their voices heard.

"We tell (our employees) to respect the law," Tashie says.  "It's a real problem when an 18-year-old comes up with a 17-year-old date.  We have to say, 'We're sorry.'  We don't want to get called on it (by a parent or by the state)."

Tashie says if a parent or adult guardian accompanies a 17-year-old to the box office and purchases the minor's ticket, Malco will allow the adult to leave the teenager at the theater to watch the R-rated movie.  The adult must show consent, he says.

The law's the law.  That means you 17-year-old's out there in Tennessee may have to suck up your pride and let Mom and Pop buy your R-rated movie tickets!